Hackers are becoming increasingly aggressive about what they want. While many online fraud attempts have been somewhat covert, the latest trend is ransomware, including an incredible increase in mobile ransomware attacks. These attacks involve taking a device electronically hostage until the device owner pays money to get their data back. While these types of attacks have been around for many years, their threat level has only recently increased.
Financial Hits From Ransomware Attacks
The 2017 Kaspersky Lab Malware Report for Q1 noted that mobile ransomware has increased by more than 250% in the first part of this year. In terms of numbers, it detected 218,625 mobile ransomware files compared to 61,832 in the previous quarter. These attacks come at a significant cost for the businesses that become victims. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that the global damage costs could exceed $5 billion this year. This cost takes into account the value of lost data, uptime and productivity.
In 2016, U.S. small businesses lost $75 million in downtime due to ransomware attacks, according to Datto. The report also found that 48% lose critical data when falling victim to such attacks.
A good example is the WannaCry ransomware attack on the U.K.’s National Health Service. The damage from it is thought to be more than $1 billion even though only $100,000 in bitcoin was paid as ransom. That larger loss came with the damaged reputation and the amount of time and effort that went into shoring up data security. Then, there was the downtime when the data was being held as a ransom.
With more cybercriminals now deploying this tactic, businesses have to be proactive and prepared to deal with ransomware threats. In working on various data security and infrastructure security programs, I've put together some best practices designed to protect your business from ransomware attacks.
Constantly Update Your System And Layer Protection
Hackers practice on older versions of operating systems, browsers and software applications. It's their testing ground. However, they are less prepared to attack the latest version since they haven't had time to figure out how to compromise it.